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The Danube River is Europe's second-longest river, stretching across multiple countries and offering a wealth of beautiful destinations through Austria, Hungary, Germany, and Slovakia to explore. Here are some of the best places to visit along the Danube River:
Austria has several famous and scenic locations to visit on a river cruise along the Danube River. Here are some of the best:
Dürnstein: In Dürnstein, a charming town along the Danube River in Austria, you can start by exploring the picturesque streets and admiring the well-preserved medieval architecture. Visit Dürnstein Castle, perched on a hilltop, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding vineyards and the river. Don't miss the opportunity to taste the region's renowned wines at one of the local wineries.
Linz: In Linz, Austria's third-largest city, you can visit Mozart’s apartment and the old Jesuit Cathedral, stop for a bite at Konditorei Jindrak, home of the Original Linzer Torte, and explore the charming Old Town with its well-preserved medieval architecture and visit the iconic Linz Cathedral. Take a relaxing stroll along the Danube River and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the city's waterfront area, known as the Donaupark.
Melk: The Babenbergs, a great medieval ducal family that controlled a wide swath of Austria before yielding to the Habsburgs, were the first to erect a castle on the hill above Melk, which they subsequently gave to Benedictine monks. Some 900 years ago, these monks turned it into a fortified abbey—and the greatest center of learning in Central Europe. Medieval monks there created more than 1,200 manuscripts, sometimes spending an entire lifetime hand-lettering a single volume. Today the library contains some 100,000 volumes, among them more than 80,000 works printed before 1800. This beautiful complex, completely redone in the early 18th century, is a wonderful example of baroque art and architecture, with spectacular views from its terrace. Make sure to walk through the abbey’s Marble Hall and look up at the ceiling fresco painted by Paul Troger: Those classical gods and goddesses represent Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, allegorically bringing his people from dark to light and demonstrating the link he claimed to the original Roman Empire.
Salzburg: Salzburg is a beautiful city located in Austria, and although it is not directly on the Danube River, it is a popular destination that can easily be reached from the river. Explore the historic Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the iconic Salzburg Cathedral, stroll along Getreidegasse, Mozart's birthplace, and don't miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the city's musical heritage by attending a performance. Salzburg is also famous for being the shooting location for the 1965 film, The Sound of Music. Visit Maria’s church in the nearby town of Mondsee and the Viennese gardens around which she and the children sang “Do Re Mi.”
Vienna: Start your journey in Austria's capital, known for its stunning architecture, classical music, and vibrant cultural scene. Visit the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace, the former imperial summer residence with its beautiful gardens. Explore the historic center and marvel at St. Stephen's Cathedral and the Hofburg Palace. Immerse yourself in Vienna's rich musical culture by attending a classical concert or opera performance at one of the city's renowned venues, such as the Vienna State Opera
The Wachau Valley: Visit the Wachau Valley and make sure to enjoy a special tasting of organic wines at Nikolaihof, perhaps the oldest winery in Austria. The location itself is fascinating: One may encounter remnants of the first buildings on the site—an ancient Roman fort—and taste wines in a deconsecrated 15th-century chapel. Owned by the Saahs family, Nikolaihof produces some of the world’s best Riesling and Veltliner varietals; in fact, the 1995 Riesling Vinothek, bottled in 2012, actually scored 100 points in The Wine Advocate, the first Austrian wine ever to rank that highly. It is also one of the first wineries in the world to produce biodynamically certified wines. No herbicides, fertilizers, pesticides, or synthetic sprays are used in the vineyards. The grapes are harvested by hand, fermented without artificial yeast, and stored in Austrian oak casks for up to 20 years.
Hungary offers several fantastic locations to visit on a river cruise along the Danube River. Here are some of the best:
Budapest: The enchanting city of Budapest is often referred to as the "Pearl of the Danube," and there are numerous things to do and see. Start by visiting the iconic Hungarian Parliament Building and take a leisurely walk along the Danube Promenade to enjoy the stunning views of Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge. Explore the historic Buda Castle district, including Matthias Church, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and Fisherman's Bastion, for breathtaking panoramic vistas of the city. Don't miss the chance to sample Hungarian cuisine at local restaurants and cafes, indulge in dishes like goulash and chimney cake, or taste the famous strudel of the area at the First Strudel House of Pest.
Christmas Markets Cruises: Take in the enchanting sights and sounds of the illuminated market squares, beautifully decorated Christmas trees, and live musical performances. A river cruise along the Danube to see Germany's Christmas markets is a fantastic way to experience the holiday season. River cruising allows you to visit enchanting cities such as Nuremberg, Regensburg, and Passau, each with a unique Christmas market. You can explore the markets' festive atmosphere, indulge in delicious seasonal treats, and shop for traditional crafts and gifts. The scenic Danube River provides a picturesque backdrop as you sail from one charming town to another, adorned with twinkling lights and decorated Christmas trees. It's a memorable journey that combines the joy of Christmas markets with the comfort and relaxation of a river cruise.
Nuremberg: While on a river cruise through Nuremberg, there are several fascinating sites to explore. Take a stroll through the charming old town, admiring the well-preserved medieval architecture and landmarks such as the famous Gothic Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche). Learn about the city's history at the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds and the Nuremberg Trials Memorial. Don't miss the chance to try the local specialty, Nuremberg sausages, at one of the city's traditional beer gardens. A Nuremberg Christmas Markets river cruise offers a magical experience. Explore the world-famous Christkindlesmarkt, one of Germany's oldest and most traditional Christmas markets, with its charming wooden stalls and festive atmosphere. Indulge in seasonal treats like gingerbread cookies, mulled wine, and Nuremberg sausages. Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit as you browse through handcrafted gifts, ornaments, and traditional crafts.
Passau: Passau, located in Germany at the confluence of three rivers (Danube, Inn, and Ilz), offers several attractions for river cruise visitors. Explore the charming Old Town, known for its baroque architecture and cobblestone streets. Visit St. Stephen's Cathedral, a magnificent masterpiece featuring the world's largest church organ. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the riverside promenade and soak in the scenic views of the rivers. Delve into the city's history at the Veste Oberhaus, a medieval fortress with a museum offering panoramic views of Passau.
Regensburg: While on a river cruise through Regensburg, there are several enticing activities to enjoy. Begin by exploring the well-preserved medieval Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and admire its stunning architecture, including the iconic Regensburg Cathedral. Take a stroll along the charming streets, visit the historic Stone Bridge, and wander through the colorful Old Town squares. Delve into history at the Regensburg Museum, which showcases the city's rich cultural heritage. Finally, don't miss the chance to try Regensburg's famous sausages, known as "Bratwurst." Visitors can explore the city's enchanting Christmas market during the holiday season to immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere. Sample delicious seasonal treats such as gingerbread cookies, mulled wine, and roasted chestnuts. Shop for unique handmade gifts, crafts, and Christmas ornaments from local artisans. Stroll through Regensburg's historic streets and admire the beautifully decorated squares and charming architecture. Enjoy live performances of Christmas music and carols, adding to the magical ambiance of the market.
Bratislava: Just a short distance from Vienna, you'll find Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. This charming city is known for its well-preserved medieval old town, dominated by Bratislava Castle. While on a river cruise through Bratislava, there are several fantastic activities to enjoy. Begin by exploring the charming Old Town, wandering through its narrow cobblestone streets, and admiring the well-preserved medieval architecture. Discover the unique St. Martin's Cathedral and its Gothic architecture. Take a leisurely walk along the Danube promenade, enjoying the scenic views and stopping at one of the riverside cafes.
These are just a few highlights along the Danube River, and there are many more charming towns, picturesque landscapes, and historical sites to discover along the way. Whether you choose to explore the river by cruise ship or plan a multi-country road trip, the Danube River offers an unforgettable journey through Europe.
Cruising the Danube River can be an excellent way to experience the beauty and culture of Europe while enjoying a comfortable and convenient journey. The Danube River passes through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe, including the stunning Wachau Valley, the Iron Gates Gorge, and the Danube Delta. Cruising the Danube River provides an opportunity to explore Europe's diverse cultures and history, from the Gothic architecture of Budapest to the Ottoman influence in Serbia. Uniworld's included and optional excursions completely immerse you in the authentic culture, sights, and cuisine of the amazing places you’ll visit. An all-inclusive Uniworld river cruise offers a convenient way to see multiple destinations without the hassle of packing and unpacking. Plus, Uniworld's river cruise ships take you to the heart of your destinations and dock in the center of town, so you can step right off the ship and start exploring. And a Danube River cruise with Uniworld offers a unique and memorable experience, with opportunities to sample local cuisine, attend classical music concerts, visit famous vineyards, and explore gorgeous destinations.
Yes! Book your Uniworld Danube River cruise with GET and enjoy unlimited premium spirits and wines, delicious, five-star, farm-to-table cuisine, your choice of carefully curated excursions, all gratuities onboard, all scheduled airport transfers, walking sticks for onshore use, shipwide internet and wi-fi access, and onboard entertainment and enrichment.
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